Through negation

Since lately I feel like some of those goals have been achieved that I set for myself when starting this search. I am more at peace with myself, my social life is easier, I have become more self confident. But this success brings something with it, desperation.

I longed for peace of mind and better relationships, a happier and easier life. And now that I have it I notice that this was not what was needed, what I really wanted. For the search goes on, no peace from that.

Sure there have been changes to the better, useful things, good things but no change fundamentally. All changes are like drops in an ocean, little vibrations on the surface. Getting what one wants and realizing it is not enough or not what is needed is frustrating. As if I would need to start all over again and admit to myself that there is still work to be done.

And yet, this retreating from things is in essence the spiritual search. I think that this is the retreat from untruth that Richard Rose talked about. I always thought that it is a fully logical and conscious process but now I believe that doing it consciously is not even possible. I think that it is through our efforts towards a goal that we are even able to retreat from untruth and in order to do this we need to go through all that desperation and uncertainty. Maybe it is that uncertainty that is the retreat itself.

Retreating from untruth cannot be done by us, it happens to us as a result of our efforts (Who would consciously want to fail?). It seems that the spiritual seeking is a seeking through negation through desperation and striving. Hard times, but soon it becomes something one cannot stop doing. What could be more meaningful than the search for meaning itself?

 

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My current doubts

In the last few days I have been going through some major doubts about my search and the purpose of it. What am I looking for and why, where and how etc.

I am not quite sure anymore where it started from but one thing led to another and now I don’t seem to have any solid goals. Something seems good in the moment I come up with it but then 10 minutes later it seems like pretension or something I am not really even interested in.

It is interesting to see the analytic mind trying to figure this out. It’s logic and rationality seem to always convince me about my goals and means by coming up with something that appeals to common sense and which is able to hide my doubts and intution. Of course when I come back to whatever I came up with and the ensuring feeling of certainty is gone I can’t help but wonder and ask, what should I do? what do I really want? How much am I really bullshitting myself?

It is getting harder to believe in convictions of this kind and becoming more usual to keep on wondering. I feel like I am floating in thin air and don’t have anything to hold on to. I cannot say I know that I am making progress or not, I do not really even know if I really even need something to be happy or if there even is something to find. All the while I want something but cannot even be sure if I truly even need something or if there even is something worthy to find. After pondering on this for a while I realized that there is a difference between a need and a want, I certainly want something. I don’t know for sure what, again all I know that I feel it and that words seem insufficient to grasp it. They always leave me dissatisfied and longing by falling short in their lack of convincing definition and meaning.

Does it really matter if I did not know? Is it enough if I just feel?

Is the fact that I cannot convincingly define what I am looking for, a sign? A sign of the fact that maybe in the end it cannot even be defined? Is it more accurate and true to leave that part of the question open?

The motion I have put myself in by doing all this “seeker-stuff” seems to have a good momentum but without a direction. I am not able to stop and I do not even want to. But what is the point then? After all, without a definite goal it does not seem that there is much value in seeking.

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Always looking away from

To me it seems that whatever we do or however we struggle we are always looking away from what we are suppose to be looking at. All thoughts look away from what is by deflecting the attention into more thoughts about whatever is or has been seen.

They say that the whole search would be over if we would just look within. But how do we do that? How is it possible when all the tools we have in our use are fundamentally looking in the wrong direction?

The only times when I feel that I have maybe glimpsed at something or maybe gotten a glimmer of the goal is when the always-looking mind’s words end and what is left is noticing, true reporting of what we are seeing without projection (at least without any conscious one). But the second the mind stops running in circles and it feels as if something would be just outside of it’s grasp, the mind jumps back in and starts looking and poking and pointing and analyzing. And poof whatever was there is again hidden under the mind with it’s usual junk.

Who am I? What is awareness? What is aware? All if asked with words within the mind are pointing there and not here. And whenever that here seems to unfold we say There! and it is gone, gone and lost in that “there-ness” there, and not anymore in this here.

Whatever it is that is there in that “there-ness” seems to turn out to be worthless. Maybe I realize that I was only imagining something or maybe I see that something did not have the value I first gave it.

If we cannot notice what is here we are not going to find anything of any (permanent) value.

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Helping others

In this business of spiritual seeking it is important to have friends who can help us and who we can help. But how do we do that?

In a spiritual search the most important thing is to discover what we really, really want and to find out how to get there. Be that happiness, Truth, God or whatever it is we believe might help us find what might satisfy that yearning.

The thing is that we cannot tell people to go and search for something, they need to discover what they need to find and the direction they need to find it from. Helping others does not mean that we tell people what they should do but to help them realize what they should do by themselves.

A lot of times when people ask for advice or opinion they seem to be more after reassurance than something that might help them look deeper into things. It is as if they would not want to see where the problem really lies but instead to have reassurance to help them look away from the problem. By finding reassurance we find a solution within our beliefs, the things that are the cause of our problems. By doubting we are reaching outside of those beliefs and try to find an answer that is outside of the problem.

So the direction we should guide our fellow seekers to seems to be opposite of what we are used to. From believing to doubt instead of from believing to more believing.

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“Further” is the right direction

Whatever we do to speed our progress on the spiritual path, the most important thing is to keep on going further. Whatever the spot, state or level we are in we need to look further and stop standing still.

This is why I think that any effort that strives to achieve a goal is better than any effort that tries to maintain any state we are currently in, be that peace of mind, a positive attitude or a feeling.

A lot of people start meditation with breath-awareness or breath counting. A good meditation for the purpose of getting some stability but also a very easy one to get stuck with, exactly because of the motivation to strengthen that stability in stead of going beyond it.

A meditation that has stuck with me is what I call “awareness-of-awareness” meditation. It is remaining conscious of the fact that something is aware, in other words, being aware of whatever is going on. It started simply as a desire to look beyond the mundane problems instead of looking at the mundane problems. Since then it has taken a form of its own but the “looking beyond” is the point of it. It has changed into something personal, something that is suitable for me. Probably if I would have stuck with the old pattern I would have not been able to look deeper into to the state of things. Now, if this evolution of one’s meditation does not happen I doubt if the meditation is even useful.

If we listen to what we really want this probably happens automatically, naturally. But as humans we like to stick to things, get too attached and are afraid to move along the path we are on and are actually afraid to hear that whisper that is hinting us of the direction,

Further.

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Doubt

We need to doubt if we want to get to know something. We cannot hope that having certain beliefs and convictions will do the trick. Beliefs are like a blindfold blocking our vision, making us wander about in darkness.

Doubt is not a shift in beliefs, although it might cause that, but it is there in uncertainty and insecurity that is caused by a conflict between beliefs, beliefs that seem equally true but from which we are unable to discern the truer one. It is the detachment from those beliefs that is the doubt and if we are unwilling to go through that insecurity it is hard to move along and make progress towards something truer. The willingness to compare and to weigh things gives us the possibility to see lies and delusion we are unwillingly participating in.

When we detach ourselves from a set of beliefs we set sail and move towards open watersin the hope of finding a safer, better harbor. If we don’t set sail how could we ever arrive? At some point it becomes obvious that this place we are in wont give us an answer, wont satisfy us and that we need to leave to even have a chance in finding something that might do the trick, this is doubt.

Without doubt we are stuck and cannot move. With it we might have to go through harder times and harder places before we can find something, before we even can realize that there might be something to find.

Doubt is seeking.

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Within?

A lot of teachers say that the answer to our deepest questions are within, but what does that exactly mean? Where is within?

If we take a look at ourselves we can see we define “us” according to certain borders/limits. We believe that things like this body, these thoughts, these feelings to be “us” or in other words “inside”, and the rest of experience is “not us” or “outside”. This becomes uncertain when begin to doubt and see that all the mentioned things are really outside, the view is not the viewer. What we can see is not us.

Try it, be aware for a minute. Aware of whatever is happening to you, can you get a feeling for this observing?

We say that everything we sense (seeing, hearing, etc) is outside but aren’t the things we sense interpretations of and within the brain? Doesn’t that imply that those things are in some sense happening inside of us also? There is no way to prove that a world independent of our senses exists, not without using our senses or without having the “us” looking at it.

Thoughts? We see them too so they are not within us but still we say that they are an inner part of us, at least more than the computer screen. Feelings? We say that they are within but again we see them, so they are outside. The border between inside and outside is based on a belief. We say that thoughts, feelings, sensations are inner and define ourselves as the body which then creates the inside-outside paradigm.

It is interesting to notice how the things we never doubted seem so sure before we take a look and start to doubt and get “glimpses” of what really is happening.

But what is really within then? It is beyond everything we can “see”. All thought, feeling, perception, everything we can experience then, is outside. As long as we are looking at some thing we are not looking within. It is a very easy trap to get into, to think that we have crossed some border and are now looking within. As long as we are looking beyond borders, we are not looking within.

I don’t think we can actually look within without some sort of help or grace. But we need to be willing to try, if we are not we might miss the chance to do so.

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